Intrepid bwoggers and swing enthusiasts Josh Tate and Sam Losee venture out into the wilderness dodging a sea of hyperactive children, shady raccoons, and Columbia students totally not doing anything suspicious in the park with the express purpose of discovering which swing set is the best between 96th and 120th street.
From worst to best…
6. 119th Street Playground
These swings are at the bottom of the list largely due to the fact that we couldn’t find them. Despite scouring the area for approximately five minutes, we determined that it had been transformed from a park into a puff of smoke or possibly absorbed by Grants tomb. This swing set’s nonexistence was particularly disappointing to Josh considering his 8 AM Contemporary Civilization class meets in 80 Claremont on 120th street, and if there’s anything needed at 10 AM in the morning to decompress after St. Augustine, it’s a good swing.
-100 for nonexistence
+10 for location
+5 for smell
-20 for possible haunting by former president Ulysses S. Grant.
5. Tot Lot 105
While a cute playground with a very cute stone turtle in the sandbox, this park had no swings. Its existence does put it up higher on the list than the imaginary 119th street playground, but not much higher due to the nature of things. This is further exacerbated by the fact that it’s on 105th, so unless you want to finish your morning jog at a playground without the inherent desire to swing/if you’re a psychopathic Econ major, there’s no point in going here unless you want to say hi to the turtle. Granted, he is a cute turtle.
-20 for location
-30 for lack of swings
+20 for cute turtle statue
+5 pity points
4. Tot Lot 110
Finally we get to the swings! While it may be a trek for all but the most swing-savvy Carlton Arms residents, this park certainly won’t be a let down. For starters, these swings come equipped with an inordinate amount of benches for friends to come by and hang out, converse, and show off your sweet swing skills late at night leisurely. It’s also attached to a fairly standard playground if you feel the need to take a dip off the slide or a casual jungle-gym excursion. However, the downside of these swings is the fact that they’re so incredibly low to the ground. We’re not joking when we say the swings could take out your shins when you walk up to them. As such it’s somewhat hard to get going on them. This plus the distance away make this swing set a fun time, but not a must-swing.
-5 for location
-10 for low distance off the ground
+20 for swing quality
+30 friend points for benches
+5 because Josh feels like it.
3. Dino Park
The Dinosaur park on 97th street was a favorite at the beginning of this ranking, but unfortunately the long walk, its closing time at dusk, and the fact that every toddler from the five boroughs, Newark, and Boston arrive en masse to swing means that it is only number three on this list. That being said, while the swings are packed, there is plenty to do in the park whether you want to take a scenic walk to the nearby dog park or you’d prefer climbing on the dinosaurs and getting worried looks from parents. The Dino park is if anything a heartwarming place all around if the swings are near impossible to snag if you’re not trespassing after hours or 8 years old.
-20 for location
+50 for dinos
+50 for adorable children and nearby dog park (there are so many dogs!)
-20 for overcrowding
-10 for curfew
+20 nostalgia points for Sam
2. Tot Lot 116
Coming in at number two is a major underdog. Neither of us expected to enjoy this playground as much as we did, but discovered there the ultimate in swinging technology. While the park might be fairly low in terms of amount of swings (4 non-kid swings) and no benches to sit with friends, those that are there are high quality and smooth. Well aligned and quiet, they’re perfect for swinging casually at night with a few close friends. However, the pinnacle of this park is one that we have taken to calling Big Red. Big Red is a huge full backed swing perfect for being pushed in. Its patented accessibility technology means that riding in the swing feels like a constant hug that is complemented by the shade of a tree overhead. We love Big Red, and Big Red loves everyone.
+20 for location
-10 for lack of benches
-10 for suboptimal swing number
+0 for possible nearby cult that walked by us when swinging (honestly creepy as hell)
+100 for big red
+40 once again, for big red
1. Tot Lot 112
The objectively best swing set, Tot Lot 112th has the benefit of being far enough off campus that you can’t see any Columbia or Barnard buildings looming in the distance telling you to study while also being close enough that you can easily walk from most all dorms (EC might be a bit of a trek). This swing set has four excellent big kid swings and four more baby swings you can shimmy into. Not only are there plenty of nearby benches for your friends, but it’s next to a whole other playground! These swings are the only ones running parallel to Riverside Drive, meaning when you swing really high and flip backwards a little, you can gaze at the fancy old apartment buildings, and when you swing looking forwards, you can watch the many raccoons scurrying through the park at night. We’re not sure if we go to these swings all the time because they’re the best or if they’re the best because we go to them all the time, but in any case, these swings are so incredible that we have forced all of our friends to come here, at all hours. Yes, these swings are usually free of children in the daytime! Most importantly, these swings have been there for Sam and Josh through the best and worst parts of their semesters, always uplifting them, yet also keeping them grounded when necessary.
+20 for good swing height
+45 for comfort
+20 for the rare but always cute children that may join you in daylight
+11 for how many times we’ve seen raccoons
+50 for location
+69 for mutual love
+1,000,034 for lovely swinging memories
Josh on the best swing of the best swing set via Sam